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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:22 am 
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This really isn't about organic farming, but it is about the resistance to GMO crops, canola in this case. The parties apparently argued the case before the Supreme Court of Canada today. To save bandwidth, I'm linking the stories rather than copying them here:

http://www.percyschmeiser.com/

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u ... h_farmer_1

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:31 am 
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This part here is extremely scary...

"In a key part of the [lower court's] ruling, the judge agreed a farmer can generally own the seeds or plants grown on his land if they blow in or are carried there by pollen -- but the judge says this is not true in the case of genetically modified seed." :shock: :shock: :shock:

Howard! Have you seen this :?: :?: :?:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:17 am 
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Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
This part here is extremely scary...

"In a key part of the [lower court's] ruling, the judge agreed a farmer can generally own the seeds or plants grown on his land if they blow in or are carried there by pollen -- but the judge says this is not true in the case of genetically modified seed." :shock: :shock: :shock:

Howard! Have you seen this :?: :?: :?:


For what it's worth, I think that report may have softened the detail a little. The trial court's opinion says:

"A farmer whose field contains seed or plants originating from seed spilled into them, or blown as seed, in swathes from a neighbour's land or even growing from germination by pollen carried into his field from elsewhere by insects, birds, or by the wind, may own the seed or plants on his land even if he did not set about to plant them. He does not, however, own the right to the use of the patented gene, or of the seed or plant containing the patented gene or cell."

So, the question of the right to allow the Roundup Ready plants to grow hinged on the fact that they were patented, not on the mere fact that they were GMOs. That line of reasoning is a response to the farmer's defense argument that the seed drift caused Monsanto to waive whatever patent rights it has. That in turn is part of the larger attack on the patent's validity.

The flavor of the opinion that I get is that the judge believed the farmer knew that some of the crop was Roundup resistant. There was no jury in the case, so the judge ruled on both the evidence and the law. I probably am biased, and I certainly was not present to hear the evidence, but I question whether Monsanto met its burden of proving patent infringement. Because of the level of deference usually given to evidentiary findings, it might be hard for the Canada Supreme Court to overturn on the trial court's evidence rulings. Whether the Supreme Court will reverse on the law or remand for a new trial are different questions. Even if the decision is upheld on the law, it seems to me to reflect very poor policy. Whether the farmer can prevail in his action against Monsanto for destroying his breeding line of canola with seed drift is an interesting question.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:21 am 
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If Monsanto wins this and they decide to do it, they could theoretically go around to every canola field and blow their seed in. Then they could send in the government to test and find that all the growers owe them for using their seed.

Was it Gulliver's Travels that had the passage about lawyers doing something similar?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 3:59 pm 
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David-
Skip step one, the wind is doing it for free. We have lost control of pollination to the big boys.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:18 pm 
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From Schmeiser's web page.

Monsanto's tests and tests they paid for, indicated the crop was 90% "Roundup Ready." Schmeiser indicated his tests showed his crop was only 0 to 68% "Roundup Ready."

I find it hard to believe you could plant 0% Roundup Ready and end up with 68%. My garden can get to be 68-98% weeds, but not 68% blown in variety of tomatoes I did not plant.

I'm still not too crazy about GMC or Monsanto.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:27 am 
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Apparently Percy is not lily white in all this. When you read the court transcripts, he and his lawyers are acting very passive aggressive. He made appointments with Monsanto attorneys and never showed up. They came to meet with him at his farm and he was too busy to talk. They served a search warrant and he was too busy to accompany them while they searched. Then he complained that they wouldn't let him accompany them.

Not only that but Percy apparently suspected the seed would blow in so he went around searching for it. The only way to find it is to spray RoundUp and watch to see what happened. When he found it growing in a ditch, he collected the seed and used that seed in with his own on purpose. He did not deny any of this in court, just in the newspapers. Then after the RR crop was in, he actually sold the seed to others. That's where Monsanto got fed up with him.

Still, my problem with Monsanto is that their license extends to people who never bought the seed. How can that be? When their seed has escaped into the wild, how do they control it? With a stupid license fee???

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 Post subject: GMO
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 11:25 am 
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Dave: Don't ever believe that this is not about organic. You are correct about the GMO issue but you can bet Monsanto and other GM inventors want us to go away. If they can pollinate enough we will have no choice but to eat GMO. Our health (public at large) and feeding the world has nothing to do with it.
Bob


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:07 pm 
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I'm certainly not on the side of Monsanto, but I'm afraid they will own Percy's farm very soon. I disagree with the idea of Roundup ready seed wholeheartedly. But I do agree that someone who develops a new idea should be granted a patent and be allowed to license users of that idea. Unfortunately in this case it is an evil patent in my opinion. Could cocaine farmers patent a better cocaine tree? I suppose so.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:51 pm 
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Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
Could cocaine farmers patent a better cocaine tree? I suppose so.


Genetically modify coca plants to be Roundup ready or herbicide resistant? Now that would present a conundrum.

It appears ordinary fruits, vegetables, and grains get the short end of every stick. The wild type genome can't be patented, and patents for unique strains developed from selective breeding would be fairly hard to maintain/defend. Without a lobby for protecting wild types (which would involve advocacy by those that are derisively and incorrectly lumped together as "environmenalists"), there is very little protection agaisnt the genome-wide assault. What protection there is is being destroyed under the warm and fuzzy stealth label of "tort reform."

It seems to me that the policy inconsistencies will collide at some point. Let's say I genetically modify a plant so that it expresses desirable traits when used as a hedgerow, windbreak, or field border, and I receive a patent on the modified organism. The product sells fast, far, and wide. An unforseen side effect from growing those plants is that they generate pollen or other plant material that, when shed, can drift on the wind. When the wind-borne material comes into contact with corn plants, it stops the ear development process. Further, it imparts a flavor to green corn plants that makes them unsuitable for use in silage. Still further, the noxious material renders some or all of the ground on which it settles unsuitable for corn production for several years. So, the patented GMO that I produce and market neutralizes Monsanto's--I wonder how long it would take them to switch their arguments, spin the lobby machine faster, or try to litigate me into insolvency. If the adjacent corn farmer complains, I can draw on Monsanto's tried and true arguments. Legislation to limit both my product and Monsanto's? They never would let that happen. No doubt Monsanto's response would be to genetically modify the corn to be resistant to my product's effects, but whether they could overcome the art in my perfectly drawn patent claims in order to patent their new toy is another question. Finally, consider whether your elected officials are up to the job of resolving the genomic contamination issue in a sustainable manner. If the answer is "no," as it is in my case and likely will be in most cases, consider supporting someone who is. :wink:

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